Dienstag, 11.12.2018 10:20 Uhr

European Union and the political status quo in Italy

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 10.04.2018, 08:59 Uhr
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Rome [ENA] While ‘the European Commission is to present every three years a Cohesion Report on the progress made towards achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion (...)’, in Italy M5S (5-Star Movement) is the first Party with about 32% after Italy general election which failed to produce a clear winner. In fact, the M5S is the biggest single party in parliament but it never winned a majority.

The 2013-2018 legislature has been somewhat chaotic but not sluggish - three governments, two Presidents of the Republic, one constitutional referendum and much more. Parliament has approved some important, though controversial, laws: Jobs Act, A reform of the School, a new electoral law, the living will. Till now the Five Star Movement thrived on the dissatisfaction that many Italians feel with Italian politics and the modest quality of democracy. But now may be it’s time to govern for M5S. What will be the future of Italy according to the main points of M5S Manifesto if the anti-establishment governs? It’s important to have in mind that the Italian public debt is at the moment about 2.280 billion euro.

The manifesto of the 5-Star Movement, presented before election with a solemn pledge by the Neapolitan leader Luigi Di Maio, promises to scrap 400 "useless" laws to free up the Italian economy as well as pleasing voters by reforming an unpopular 2011 pension reform (so called Fornero reform) and teachers by withdrawing former centre-left premier Matteo Renzi's 'Good School' education reform. But the main plank of the manifesto is establishing a basic income, to be given to all Italians and called 'a citizenship wage'. Di Maio says the law will cost some two billion euros, although it is likely to be much more expensive, about 30 billion euro, according to official data.

"This is one of our key promises, and it will help pay for itself by the way it will ramp up the economy, as people spend more," Di Maio declared. The M5S economic plan hypothesizes a public investment bank "for small companies, farmers and families". Taxes will also be cut to give the economy "the shot in the arm it needs," Di Maio said. The Neapolitan leader also says the M5S "will cut the length of trials" in Italy's slow justice system, and provide "a certainty of punishment" to stop so many cases being timed out. The M5S will also "overcome", rather than total ban, the 2011 Fornero pension reform which raises the retirement age to 67 by 2019.

So-called 'heavy' jobs will be left out from the reform and there will be a slow process of phasing in the pension age rise, while there will be a 'woman's option' and a 'quota 41' rule for calculating pensions. In other points, the manifesto aims to: - Raise minimum pensions to 780 euros - Spend 17 billion euros on helping families with children - Safeguard families' savings - Make Italian energy 100% renewable - Create a 'smart nation' with new tech jobs - Cut taxes and boost the quality of life - Reduce the debt7GDP ratio by 40 points in 10 years - Valorise and safeguard what is 'made in Italy'. This is the situation in Italy at the moment.

Taking into account the “ frightful hobgoblin which stalks throughout Europe”, the anti- European forces, European Union Institutions must show their ability of cohesion policy to bring the European Union closer to its citizens through implementation at the grassroots level and the principle of subsidiarity, which must be fortified. The focus is exactly on the concept of ‘European added value’. Consequently cohesion policy should embody a Europe which does useful practical work in the regions. The impact of globalisation, migration, poverty and a lack of innovation, climate change, energy transition and pollution is not limited to less developed regions.

Regions and their needs differ within the EU. In this context, the territorial dimension of cohesion policy should be stepped up to ensure a tailored approach to better address the challenges of the various areas, whether urban, suburban or rural or in island, mountain or border locations. The particular structural social and economic situation of the outermost regions also, as laid down in the Treaties, warrants specific measures which should be improved and adapted whenever necessary.

It’s necessary to discuss without taboos the link between cohesion and social and fiscal convergence in that social and fiscal convergence contributes to the objective of cohesion, improving the functioning of the single market. Conversely, divergent practices in this respect may run counter to the objective of cohesion and are liable to cause further problems for the areas which are lagging behind or the most vulnerable to globalisation, such as the territories caught in the so called Middle-Income Trap. The credibility of the EU is at stake. And Italy's credibility too.

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